Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in people 65 years and older. This is because many older adults suffer from several conditions that affect balance and motor coordination. Many seniors are unaware of how to prevent falls and may be reluctant or embarrassed to ask for help. Here are three reasons why falls could be detrimental to an older adult.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in people 65 years and older. It is essential to realize that falls can lead to severe injury or even death for an older adult. In some cases, the person may be found lying on the ground with no evidence of injury. This is called a “silent fall” and occurs when a person falls and hits their head on the floor or other surface, causing unconsciousness or even death. Death as a result of falls can happen anywhere, but many times occurs in the bathroom. This is especially true if the person has an unfamiliar medical condition such as heart problems or a stroke.
Falls can lead to several health problems for seniors. In the most severe cases, a fall can break the person’s hip, which results in surgery and rehabilitation. This may leave the individual with life-long disabilities. The person may also suffer from soft tissue injuries such as broken arms or legs. These injuries are often easy to treat, but they can make it difficult for seniors to regain mobility or perform common tasks like walking or even getting out of bed in the morning. Even less severe falls can result in serious injuries, such as bruising or scalp laceration, that may require stitches.
Severe complications from an accident can occur for seniors and other vulnerable individuals due to the person’s age, medical history, or medication. For example, falls can lead to a hip fracture. When this occurs, the person will need surgery to restore function to the hip joint. The long-term effects of a hip fracture may not be realized until many years later when mobility is affected. Many seniors are unaware of the risks associated with falls and may cause themselves injury without even realizing it.
Falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many seniors have more risk factors for TBI because of the medical conditions they may be suffering from, and these risk factors become amplified when a fall occurs. Seniors with a pre-existing neurological condition such as Alzheimer’s will experience even more deterioration of their mental capacity after a fall. The person may experience confusion, memory loss, or personality changes due to the TBI. This can leave the individual vulnerable to being manipulated by other caregivers or patients in an assisted living facility. If there is no supervision, the elder may be taken advantage of by other patients or caregivers to take their medication or money.
In conclusion, falls can be detrimental to older people due to the physical injuries that they may sustain or the trauma that they may experience. Several risk factors make more likely in these individuals, and educating them on ways to prevent falls is essential.